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Anesthesiologists are physicians who specialize in the field of pain relief and management. They are involved with administering general and local anesthetics during surgical procedures. They are responsible for monitoring the patient's life functions, such as blood pressure, heart rate and breathing during surgery. Anesthesiologists are among the most highly educated and highly compensated professionals in the United States as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to their formal education, anesthesiologists must also complete an extensive paid internship and residency program as interns, earning a modest stipend.
A number of medical schools from across the United States offer anesthesiology internships and residency programs. Candidates who are accepted into one of these programs are typically paid a stipend, which varies based on the program. Interns in the the Department of Anesthesiology at the Duke University School of Medicine received an annual stipend of $47,760 for the 2011-2012 academic year. Interns in the Jackson Health System Department of Anesthesiology received a stipend of $46,566.29 as of July 2008. Interns in the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Department of Anesthesiology program received a stipend of $50,734 for the 2011-2012 academic year.
The first year of anesthesiology residency, also referred to as the base year, typically involves training in fields other than anesthesiology such as internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, family practice, obstetrics and other specialties. The second, third and fourth years of residency involve training in basic, specialty and advanced anesthesiology. Stipends for anesthesia interns typically increase after they complete their base year. Second year residents at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Department of Anesthesiology program received a stipend of $52,609. Third year residents in Jackson Health System Department of Anesthesiology received a stipend of $50,796.31. Fourth year residents in the Duke University program received $53,748.
Anesthesiology internship and residency programs may offer additional benefits. Residents at the Duke University School of Medicine anesthesiology program receive malpractice insurance and a $100,000 group term life insurance policy. Those in the Jackson Health System receive medical, dental, mental health and disability insurance. The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Department of Anesthesiology program supplies residents with anesthesiology textbooks, provides an annual professional allowance, and covers the resident's annual dues for membership in a variety of medical societies and associations, such as the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
"CNN Money" ranked anesthesiology at Number 11 on its 2009 list of Best Jobs in America, in part because of the high rate of pay. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics placed the mean annual income for anesthesiologists at all levels of experience from across the United States at $220,100 as of May 2010. New job opportunities for doctors and physicians in all fields of specialization, including anesthesiology, should grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018. Anesthesiologists who are willing to practice in rural or inner city areas should have even better employment opportunities.
Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.